Pete Townshend remains unsure how and when the Who will be able to resume their tour dates. Prior to the pandemic, he and Roger Daltrey were on tour with a local symphony orchestra accompanying the band every night, with the 2020 shows working in material from the band’s latest album, WHO. A tour of the UK and Ireland was postponed several times until it was finally scrapped altogether.
Just released is the “Super-Deluxe Edition” of The Who Sell Out in a massive box set, with a total of 112 tracks over five discs. The collection includes never-before-heard outtakes and Pete Townshend demos — along with a heaping dose of replica memorabilia from the era.
During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Townshend was, as always, brutally honest with fans: “Everything is in the air, and nobody knows what’s going to happen. I heard that (our promoter) Live Nation usually has 25 acts out between April and August in America. Next year, they have 48. And so that means there’s a lot of competing for venues.”
He went on to say, “The other interesting thing is that younger people are buying tickets and selling out concerts by younger artists. But our demographic, which is between 30 and 70, I suppose, are not buying tickets at all. . . It’s sort of devastating, the idea that older people, because of their conservatism and life experience, will wait until a tour is 100 percent certain. The finances of it are worrying. Who knows? We don’t really know. But if an opportunity is to come up, I will come.”
When pressed about whether the Who would ever be amenable to a big budget biopic on the band, Townshend said, “I’m not opposed to anything that might help me pay for my yachting. (Laughs) Quite broadly, I wouldn’t object to anything that created spirit around the music that we’ve worked on all our lives. We had maybe seven-to-ten really profoundly productive years. And then, pretty much nothing. We’re living on and living off those years, to a great extent.”
Townshend went on to explain, “The story is. . . interesting, but I don’t think it’s. . . I don’t know. Roger, as you probably know, has been trying to create a film around the life of Keith Moon for I think what is now. . . the first script that Roger sent me for approval was in 1993. I was in New York working on the Tommy show on Broadway. It’s been a long time in the making and I think Roger has rejected at least 10 scripts. It’s not an easy story to tell.”
- Out now is the updated version of 2019’s WHO album, which features the “Beads On One String” remix, and a seven-track bonus disc culled from the band’s February 14th, 2020 gig at the 2,000-capacity Pryzm in Kingston-Upon-Thames, England, marking the smallest venue the band had played in over 40 years.
- The tracklisting to the new live, acoustic bonus disc is: Intro, “Substitute,” “Squeeze Box,” “Tattoo,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “Break The News,” “She Rocked My World,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
CHECK IT OUT: A behind-the-scenes look at Pete Townshend on stage with The Who on May 30th, 2019 live in Pittsburgh: